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Sir Robert Chiltern (Jeremy Northam) has reached the social and political Himalayas in Victorian London, and with his wife, Lady Chiltern (Cate Blanchett), are the happiest successful couple around. Chiltern's life long friend, Lord Goring (Rupert Everett) is famous for his wit, repartee and refusal to take anything seriously, least of all everyone's exhortation to get married. The fun is punctured when Chiltern's acquaintance and Goring's one time fiancée, now Mrs Cheveley (Julianne Moore) arrives from Vienna, where she has outwitted two husbands - and is in possession of information that could ruin Chiltern, unless he backs a canal scheme of dubious merit that she has invested in. In his attempts to help Chiltern, Goring becomes embroiled in a web of lies and deception, temptations and traps for the unwary heart. Chiltern's marriage is at stake, but so is the emotional life of all those who surround him - not least the blissfully determined bachelor Goring's.

"You may like to think of this as a period piece that could have been called My Best Friend's Marriage, but this time, Rupert Everett's friend is a man in high political office and we are talking marriage not wedding. Of course, it's nothing like My Best Friend's Wedding, what with Oscar Wilde at the pen, but there is a certain element that the two films do share: wit. The film's wit and the seductive charm of Wilde's sharply observed, lovingly portrayed, flawed yet redeemable characters, the entertaining and clever structure of the plot, the elegant edginess of the resolution and the kindness with which even the villain is treated, are testament to not only a sensitive adaptation but remarkable filmmaking. Oliver Parker proves the adage that it's not what you do but how well you do it. (Wilde and Shakespeare, meanwhile, continue to prove the eternal power of quality writing.) The pen-as-scalpel that Wilde was so good at, is captured here cinematically; the writing has been matched by the casting, and the performances by the direction - not to mention Charlie Mole's superbly sympathetic score, weaving in and out of our consciousness, but never taking us for suckers. There is enough fun and sentiment, social comment and genuine wisdom in this film to satisfy any grown up, and if I didn't mention the bravura production design I'd be short-changing you. Give yourself over to the entertainment power of film with An Ideal Husband; it's great therapy for your woes."
Andrew L. Urban

"An Ideal Husband is to die for - in every way. Deliciously entertaining, the film combines the considerable wit of Oscar Wilde with Oliver Parker's intelligent direction and a cast that delivers with panache. If smiling inside through every moment of its 97 minutes counts, this is a high scoring film that showcases the wonderful entertainment value of cinema. I savoured it all. The anticipation, the witty lines, the home truths, the scheming… And that's half of it. From proposal to proposition and from commerce to conscience, An Ideal Husband plays with the emotions of its characters as playfully as its words. The settings are gorgeous, the costumes exquisite, the music lyrical and the players magnificent. Cate Blanchett is as luminous as ever – she is commanding, in control, yet vulnerable and feminine. Jeremy Northam is even better than in The Winslow Boy, while Rupert Everett creates a kind of pivotal movie magic that is bewitching. Julianne Moore is striking as the lady whose memory is under admirable control, while the feisty Minnie Driver adds zest and sparks. The devil may well be in the detail – and there's plenty of detail here. Beneath the fluff of the repartee lies a second layer of thought provoking home truths, reminding us that at some point we all have to pay the price of what we have done. Delightful from start to finish, An Ideal Husband describes the frailties of the human spirit, the joys of the English language, complete with its subtleties, humour, sagacity and charm."
Louise Keller

"Following the recent rash of Shakespeare adaptations, are we now to see a similar treatment for Oscar Wilde? Well, on the evidence of An Ideal Husband, we can only hope so! Based on Wilde's play of the same name, this is a stylish, witty film; dry as a good G&T and engaging to boot. The influence of Wilde's writing on the screwball comedies of the 30's and 40's is evident as the characters trade barbs with the very best manners and that characteristic British stiff upper lip. While the film stays true to the source material, director Oliver Parker has brought a fresh and lively eye to the film. There's even a wonderful scene where the characters go to a performance of The Importance of Being Earnest. It looks great, thanks to David Johnson's cinematography (he also shot Hilary & Jackie) and a painstaking attention to the period details. The cast is probably one of the best assembled for a "British" film in years. Jeremy Northam, Rupert Everett and Minnie Driver show clearly why they're the future of acting in the UK. John Wood and Peter Vaughan (as a butler) have a wonderful time. But for me, the standouts were two "imports" Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore. We all know Blanchett is great, but Moore proves she's one of the most underrated actresses of her generation. After school holiday excesses, An Ideal Husband is a breath of fresh air - a funny, acerbic and totally involving comedy with brains."
David Edwards

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CAST: Cate Blanchett, Minnie Driver, Rupert Everett, Julianne Moore, Jeremy Northam, John Wood, Peter Vaughan, Jeroen Krabbe, Ben Pullen

DIRECTOR: Oliver Parker

PRODUCERS: Barnaby Thompson, Uri Fruchtman, Bruce Davey

SCRIPT: based on Oscar Wilde's stage play


EDITOR: Guy Bensley

MUSIC: Charlie Mole


RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 14, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: March 22, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment

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